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A person sitting on a sidewalk on March 13 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Homelessness across the U.S. increased by 2.2% in 2020 compared to 2019, making it the fourth straight year that the nation's population of homeless people grew, according to a report released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday.

Why it matters: The uptick, based on a once-a-year count in January 2020, does not reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which unleashed financial pain on millions of people across the country and likely contributed to increased homelessness — especially in communities of color.

What they're saying: “The findings of the 2020 AHAR Part 1 Report are very troubling, even before you consider what COVID-19 has done to make the homelessness crisis worse,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement.

  • "Housing should be a right, not a privilege, and ensuring that every American has a safe, stable home is a national imperative," she added.

By the numbers: On a single night in 2020, roughly more than 580,400 people experienced homelessness across the U.S.

  • 61% stayed in shelters while the remaining 39% were in unsheltered locations, such as on the street or in abandoned buildings.
  • The report also found that homelessness among families remained essentially the same compared to 2019 with fewer than 172,000 people in families with children experiencing homelessness.
  • Homelessness among veterans did not improve either despite significant drops in the number of homeless vets in prior years.
  • The 2.2% increase from 2019 represented 12,751 more people.

The big picture: HUD said it would explore the pandemic's effect on homelessness in future reports.

  • The Biden administration's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed this month includes $50 billion in essential housing and homelessness assistance, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

1 hour ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.